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Pterosaur Track Show Bird-Like Landing



Pterosaur tracks show it touched down like a bird 
New Scientist - 19 August 2009 by Colin Barras 

A set of footprints unearthed in France is the first to show one of the winged 
reptiles coming into 
land - and suggests they did so in much the same way as most modern birds.

An exceptional set of footprints preserved in 150-million-year-old rock near 
Crayssac in south-west 
France holds some answers to pterosaur behaviour. They record the moment a 
small pterosaur 
came into land, says Kevin Padian at the University of California, Berkeley.

Padian's team says the prints are similar to those produced by a landing bird. 
Although most 
pterosaur tracks show the animals walking on all fours, the first prints in the 
newly discovered 
tracks are of the rear limbs only.

That's because the pterosaur used its wings to "stall" as birds do, says the 
team, so that the 
animal's body swung up from a horizontal flight position to near vertical, 
enabling it to land gently 
on its hind feet.


More at:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17633-pterosaur-tracks-show-it-touched-down-like-a-
bird.html

In Proceedings of the Royal Society B
(Unfortunately the DOI link at the bottom of the article doesn't work)

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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist                Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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